Los Angeles — Audiences were more than curious to check out the big-screen adaptation of the racy phenomenon Fifty Shades of Grey this weekend. The erotic drama sizzled in its debut, earning an estimated $81.7m from 3,646 theatres in its first three days, distributor Universal Pictures said on Sunday.
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In addition to destroying Valentine's and President's Day weekend records, Fifty Shades of Grey has also become the second-highest February debut ever, behind Passion of the Christ's $83.9m opening in 2004.The chart-topping film cost a modest $40m to produce. Starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, it could be on track to earn over $90m across the four-day holiday weekend.
According to Universal, North American audiences were 68% female.Internationally, director Sam Taylor-Johnson's adaptation of E L James' book earned an estimated $158.3m from 9,637 locations in 58 territories. That's the second biggest international opening for Universal, right behind the $160.3m debut from Fast & Furious 6, and the highest international opening for an R-rated film ever.Director Matthew Vaughn's Kingsman: The Secret Service also exceeded expectations, landing in second place with an estimated $35.6m from 3 204 locations across the three-day, according to box office firm Rentrak.The R-rated comic book adaptation starring Colin Firth and Samuel L. Jackson cost a reported $81m to produce and should earn around $41m across the four-day period.Animated children's film The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water came in third with $30.5m in its second weekend in theatres, falling only 45%. As one of the few family-friendly options in theatres, Paramount's PG-rated movie could pass $100m by the end of the holiday weekend.Rounding out the top five were holdovers American Sniper, with $16.4m, and Jupiter Ascending, with $9.4m.The Oscar-nominated American Sniper, now in its fifth weekend of wide release, has earned over $300m in North America to date.
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